So let’s continue where I left of yesterday – I talked about being on an decision elimination diet. Which means I’ve for the last couple of weeks have been scanning my life for decisions, and eliminating or redesign those that doesn’t give me a proportional amount of value in relation to how much willpower they cost me. And when I say redesign, it could mean chunking a bunch of decisions together. Like the example I took yesterday of cooking my lunch for work every Sunday’s and therefore being ‘free’ from the “what am I going to eat today”-decisions I otherwise have to make daily. But – again – that’s why my ‘elimination diet’ might not fit you – it comes down to what you value in life! You need to examine your life with your eyes. Perhaps your daily lunch is the highlight of your day and hence is something you should to spend some daily brain activity on!
The most powerful impact I believe comes with removing temptations – if a urge isn’t even available; we can’t waste willpower on making that bad choice. Here’s some examples on how has played out for me:
- Getting rid of all the food I know I shouldn’t be eating from my kitchen. I’ve been working on emptying out all the shit from my kitchen during the last couple of week’s, and I’ve written a “Never-buy-this-food-list”. Which makes it simple for me, all the trigger foods I’ve put on that list simply isn’t allowed to be bought. It’s black and white. No long-haul internal decisions battling in my mind.
- Unsubscring to 90% of all the emails I had coming in. Every mail represents a decision – to open or not to open it. And if we open it, we analyse the content and make a decision for how to react to that. “should I buy this; should I reply; what should I reply; should I read this article; why am I reading this article”. Even if I didn’t read most of my emails, I still couldn’t help but to check the inbox constantly, just in case there was something juicy in there. I now find myself having a way less (still big though) urge to check my mail regularly.
- Eliminating social media during daytime. Oh, do I even have to start with how many decisions we are taking when we are scrolling down the flow? Because remember that not making a decision is also a decision.
- Deleting unnecessary apps (I don’t need to check my facebook on the phone)
- Removing ‘clutter in my environment. Less is more. Getting rid of shit I don’t need frees your mind.
- Tightening my eating routines. Having eating windows and not allowing snacking has made me free. And yes, I know much of my examples here have to do with food, but that’s because my entire life circles around that – and steals so much of my willpower. A relationship I’m determined to fix.
No, cutting your brother out of your life isn’t an option, even if his actions result in some draining of willpower…
I’ve also thought a whole lot about when I make certain decisions. Shitty decisions come later in the day after I’ve done the most important things (making sure what’s important always have sufficient energy levels/willpower available). In the evening I decide upon what clothes to wear and pack everything I need to bring to work so I won’t waste morning willpower on that. Same logic applies to the usage of social media – only evening time. I also plan out my coming day briefly in OneNote, listing the most important activates that needs to happen and people I need to reach out to.
Ironically enough, today I’ve made so many decisions on a construction task I’ve been working on the entire day. And I can just feel how my willpower is at rock bottom right now. Literally dead. Its surprises me greatly that I’m still sitting here writing. Only a deep motivation and passion for what I do can overcome my current brain fatigue. Because nor have I had time to do any of the “standby mode” activates (relaxing, meditation, etc) to get myself out of this “ego depletion mode” and restore some willpower. However, this also proves that this willpower approach can be overrun by the right mindset. But I also know that this blog post could have been way easier an enjoyable if I’d been better ‘charged’.
Check out my previous blog post if you want more on what these terms means. But my point is that now when I have these willpower glasses, we see the connections so clearly, which makes it easier to design our days in ways that makes us use our buffer more wisely and recharge more strategically. I mean most of this is kind of intuitive and it doesn’t come as a surprise that a nap makes us feel revitalized. BUT, for me the big realizations have been how much all these tiny decisions we take affect our willpower levels. The beauty of this decision elimination diet is that the effect comes so instantly, it’s not beach 2018 pay off. It’s a daily pay off. Plus, it’s kind of fun to see how one can cut out junk and feel massive improvement with so small tweaks. Okay cutting down on social media doesn’t come that easy for everyone… But still!
If you want one good video on willpower I recommend this one:
And if you want a full video mini course on Habit implementation and willpower check out this playlist: